There are many benefits to getting pregnant that many women don’t realize until after their bellies begin to grow. The main drivers behind all the bodily changes that occur are hormones. Of course, not all of of hormones that flood the body during pregnancy create pleasant feelings– but many of them do. Many women experience decreased menstrual pain, spontaneous bursts of joy– and some even report more satisfying sex. But it goes deeper than that. Pregnancy ward off many types of cancers. Last year, researchers at Oxford University discovered that pregnancy reduces ovarian cancers risks.
Even though pregnancy causes a long list of bodily changes, it’s often hard to tell if a woman is carrying a child until the pregnancy is in full swing. The most telltale sign is a missed period. Other clues include all the notorious not-so-pleasant pregnancy side effects that everyone knows. Frequent urination, nausea, headaches, swollen breasts, food cravings and fatigue are the most common indications.
All of these ups and downs are just the beginning of the adventure that is motherhood. If you’ve noticed changes in your body that match up with any of the pregnancy signs described above, you may want to consider taking a pregnancy test.
Here are the best pregnancy tests you can buy:
- First Response’s Early Result Pregnancy Test is pricey, but it’s sensitive enough to detect a pregnancy up to six days before a missed period. Most pregnancy tests only work four to five days ahead of a new cycle.
- If you’re interested in early detection but you want to save money, you may want to go with AccuMed’s Pregnancy Test Strips. They’re inexpensive, but sensitive enough to identify a positive result five days before a missed period.
- Clearblue’s Digital Pregnancy Test is designed to take all the guesswork out of interpreting your results. You’ll read one of two possible answers on its display: pregnant or not pregnant.
- iProven’s Pregnancy Test is designed for women that don’t like the idea of having to handle strips of paper that have been exposed to urine. You can cap the end of it of it when you’re finished testing.
- If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on pregnancy testing, Pregmate’s hCG Test Strips are a great deal– particularly if you get the 100-pack.
The best pregnancy test for early pregnancy detection
First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test
One of the biggest factors to consider before purchasing a pregnancy test is: how early can the test catch a positive result? Most pregnancy tests can detect signs of pregnancy up to four or five days before the day of a missed period, but First Response’s Early Results test is even more sensitive. It can detect a pregnancy up to six days before the start of a new cycle. On the other hand, it’s pricey compared to other pregnancy test products.
- Detects pregnancy six days before your missed period. First Response advertises that no other pregnancy test brand can detect pregnancy six days ahead of a new cycle.
- Tests for multiple pregnancy hormones. It can detect hCG and three hCG variants: hCG-H, bhCG and hCGbf.
- 99% accuracy on the day of a missed period. This pregnancy test meets the industry standard for accuracy, which is 99%.
- Very fast results. Three minutes is all that’s needed to obtain a result.
- Hygienic design. Once you apply urine to the tip of the device, you can place a plastic cap over it.
- Durable. Since the device is made out of plastic, it’s a bit more durable than paper pregnancy test strips.
- Pricey compared to other pregnancy tests. First Response’s pregnancy test is very sensitive, but costs more than competing products.
- Large size and bulky shape makes it somewhat awkward to use and store. It’s too big to slip into a pocket and takes up more room in a purse than necessary.
In a nutshell
If you want to become aware of your pregnancy as soon as possible, First Response’s pregnancy test could be for you. The fact that it tests for hCG variants makes it more sensitive. However, it’s not the best choice for women who want to save money or test themselves discreetly.
The best value pregnancy test for early pregnancy detection
AccuMed Pregnancy Test Strips
AccuMed’s pregnancy test strips offer excellent value because they deliver early detection and meet the industry standard for accuracy. Plus, the fact that each strip comes individually wrapped means that you can take as many strips as you need with you wherever you go. Since the packs they come in are very thin, these strips are more portable compared to digital pregnancy test devices.
- Detects pregnancy five days before missed period. AccuMed strips are sensitive enough to be used for early detection.
- Reasonably priced. These strips are affordable enough to use on a daily basis.
- The more tests you buy, the more you save. If you buy a 50-pack, you’ll pay less per strip.
- Each test is individually wrapped. You can carry your tests anywhere and test yourself discreetly.
- Takes up almost no space in your purse. You can even carry a few packs in your wallet or pocket.
- Quick results. Five minutes is all the time you need.
- Highly accurate. Like most at-home pregnancy test kits, these ones can detect hCG as low as 25 mIU/ml and are 99% accurate when used on the first day of a cycle.
- You may see a false positive if you wait longer than five minutes. The instructions say to check your results after precisely five minutes have passed. That’s because evaporation lines can sometimes show up later.
- Potential urine odors. You’ll have to put up with urine odors while you wait for your results.
In a nutshell
The fact that these pregnancy test strips from AccuMed can detect signs of pregnancy up to five days before the first day of a new cycle is the most compelling reason to try this brand. Many pregnancy test strips aren’t quite as sensitive.
The best digital pregnancy test
Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown
The main problem with pregnancy test strips is that you have to interpret your results after you complete your test. If you wait too long to read the indicator lines– or not long enough– you may come to the wrong conclusion. Clearblue’s Digital Pregnancy Test addresses this problem by delivering clearer answers. After the device finishes processing your urine, you’ll see one of two possible results appear on the display: pregnant or not pregnant.
- No guesswork required. Since you won’t have to learn how to interpret indicator lines, you’ll second guess yourself less.
- Smart countdown tells you when the result is in. The loading bar feature gives you some idea of how soon to expect your result to come in.
- Very fast results. You can get an answer in as soon as one minute, but often it takes around three minutes for the verdict to appear.
- Choose between two testing methods. You can either urinate in a cup and dip the device in, or test as you urinate.
- Wide testing surface. The width of the testing surface helps ensure that you won’t miss if you opt to test as you urinate.
- Hygienic cap feature. After you’ve finished testing, you can cap the end of the device that was exposed to urine.
- 99% accuracy on day of missed period. This pregnancy test meets industry standards for accuracy.
- Expensive compared to other pregnancy tests. This pregnancy test is too expensive to use frequently.
In a nutshell
If you find pregnancy test strips to be confusing and hard to interpret, this digital pregnancy test from Clearblue might come in handy. However, since it’s somewhat expensive, it may be a good idea to use it as sparingly as possible.
The most cost-effective pregnancy test with a hygienic cap feature
iProven Pregnancy Test Early Detection
Inside its plastic shell, iProven’s pregnancy test offers all the same features that you’ll find in other high quality pregnancy test strips. The best thing about the design is the removable cap, which you can use to seal off the end of the test after you expose it to urine. This makes it easier to store used tests, in case you want to compare your results later.
- Cap the tip, wash your hands and wait for the results. Once you cap the tip, you won’t have to put up with urine odors.
- Sensitive and accurate. Since this test can detect 25mlU/ml of hCG, it meets industry standards for accuracy.
- Detects pregnancy four days before missed period. You can use this test to shorten the time you need to wait to find out if you’re pregnant or not.
- The box contains five tests. The extra tests let you double-check if you feel you need to do so.
- Quick results. After five minutes, you’ll be able to tell if you’re pregnant or not.
- Choose from two different test methods. You can either expose the tip to a stream of urine or dip it into a urine sample.
- 100-day satisfaction guarantee. iProven is one of the only brands in the space that advertises a complete satisfaction guarantee.
- Accidental urine splashes can skew the results. If you urinate on the pink squares while administering a urine stream test, you may not get an accurate result.
In a nutshell
In terms of cost, this pregnancy test from iProven splits the difference between cheap hCG strips and expensive digital pregnancy testing products. The test’s best feature is its removable cap, which lets you conduct your test in the most hygienic way possible.
The best budget-friendly pregnancy test for young mothers-to-be
PREGMATE 50 Pregnancy hCG Test Strips
Each of Pregmate’s hCG test strips come in individually wrapped packs and each pack contains concise and easy-to-follow instructions. This– along with the fact that Pregmate offers deep discounts for future moms willing to buy in bulk– makes this pregnancy test an excellent choice for young mothers-to-be. Since the strips are significantly wider than other strips you’ll find, they’re easier to read and interpret. The colorful packaging is another small perk that adds to the fun factor and makes the strips seem less like disposable medical supplies.
- Clear, easy-to-read indication lines. The extra thick test strip design produces clear and easy-to-read indication lines.
- Each pack contains concise instructions. Each pack contains easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions.
- One of the least expensive pregnancy tests you can buy. Future moms on a budget can save some money by going with this brand.
- Discounts for bulk orders. If you upgrade to the 100-pack, you’ll save even more.
- Each test is individually wrapped. Just take as many packs as you need and test yourself whenever you feel the need to do so.
- Colorful packaging. The multicolored packs add to the fun factor.
- Potential urine odors. These strips are accurate and inexpensive, but they’re just basic pregnancy test strips. There is no hygienic cap feature to block urine odors.
In a nutshell
If it’s your first time attempting to get pregnant, you’ll probably be satisfied by Premate brand pregnancy test strips. These extra wide pregnancy test strips are easier to read compared to competing test strips. In addition, each pack comes with instructions and the box contains a helpful getting started guide.
Buying guide for pregnancy tests
Price vs. sensitivity
Most pregnancy tests are capable of detecting pregnancy around four days prior to the start of a new cycle. However, some pregnancy tests can detect not only hCG, but also hCG variants like hCGbf, bhCG and others. This is why they can detect a pregnancy as early as six days ahead of a missed period. On the other hand, the more sensitive devices tend to cost a lot more than the less sensitive ones.
Digital pregnancy tests tend to be much easier to use compared to pregnancy test strips. Interpreting a pregnancy test strip takes a certain amount of experience. You have to expose the strip to urine for just the right amount of time. If you wait too long to read the strip, you may mistakenly come to the conclusion that you’re pregnant. Many digital pregnancy tests attempt to eliminate that uncertainty by providing a simple yes-or-no answer.
Size vs. hygiene
Most pregnancy tests are just simple strips of paper, but there are also larger plastic pregnancy tests that you can buy as well. Both types of pregnancy tests work the same basic way: you apply urine, and then wait for your result. However, most larger plastic pregnancy tests come with hygienic caps, which you can use to seal off the end of your tests after you use them.
Advice and instructions
If you’re familiar with how pregnancy tests, you probably won’t need to read the instructions. Aside from a few small differences, they all work pretty much the same way. However, if you’re a first time mom-to-be, you may want to choose a pregnancy test that comes with an illustrated guide that walks you through the entire process.
Evaporation lines sometimes show up on hCG test strips after they dry. These lines may lead you to believe that you’re pregnant when you’re not. All pregnancy test strips can lead you astray this way, but some have more noticable evaporation lines than others.
The average pregnancy test can get the job done in five minutes or less. However, some digital pregnancy tests can deliver results in as little as sixty seconds.
Pregnancy test strips are more portable than plastic pregnancy tests and digital pregnancy tests. Most test strips come in individual packs, so you can carry as many of them as you need with you wherever you go.
Cost per test
Some pregnancy test manufacturers offer discounts to people willing to buy in bulk. If you intend to test yourself regularly, you may want to consider buying an 100-pack pregnancy test strip box.
Basic hCG test strips can be difficult to interpret at times, but they are cheap and portable. You can get a box of 50 hCG test strips for about $15. If you buy in larger quantities, you’ll pay even less over the long run.
The next step up from hCG test strips are plastic pregnancy tests. These work the same way as test strips, only their larger size makes them easier to use in some situations. You can also cap off the end of the test stick when you’re finished applying urine, which is convenient. These tests usually cost $2.50 apiece.
Digital pregnancy tests are expensive, but are also easier to use. An optical sensor reads your results for you and delivers the verdict via a built-in display. Expect to pay around $5 per test.
Frequently asked questions
Q: When is the ideal day to take a pregnancy test?
A: Most at-home pregnancy tests are 99% accurate when used on the first day of your cycle. That percentage starts to drop when you use the test before your expected menstruation date. If you’re not sure when your cycle is supposed to begin, wait a week or two after you’ve had sex.
Q: What’s the point of taking a pregnancy test in the morning?
A: hCG– the tell-tale hormone that identifies a pregnancy– builds up overnight. That’s why most pregnancy test manufacturers advise their users to perform the test first thing in the morning.
Q: What are evaporation lines?
A: Evaporation lines are caused by evaporated urine. They’re misleading because they can lead you to believe that you’re pregnant when they’re not. Here’s how to tell the difference: real lines form only require five minutes or less to form, while evaporation lines usually appear after ten minutes.
- Skeptical about a positive pregnancy test strip result? One clever way to double check is to take two more test strips out and perform two additional tests– one test on your urine and another on your husband’s urine. Doing this will help you learn what a negative result is supposed to look like.
- Most pregnancy test makers will send you fresh tests or give you a refund if they accidently send you tests that are close to expiring. That’s why it’s a good idea to always check your test kit’s expiration date after you receive it in the mail.
- Follow the directions exactly. Different pregnancy tests require different wait times.
- Destress before you test. If you’re nervous, you may make a mistake. Meditating before you test can help calm your mind.